The Lexus recipe for success: Hide the Toyota mass-market roots under the Lexus logo by filling a car with amenities and luxury trappings, a more supple ride, and a quiet, soothing cabin. Even a pro can't sniff out the Camry beneath an ES sedan. But with the new, compact NX, the souffle falls. The car doesn't coddle you like the wildly successful Lexus RX -- the midsized crossover vehicle that started the whole craze. Nor does it thrill you with BMW-like handling. It just feels like an upmarket Toyota RAV4.
With a snout borrowed from a large-mouth bass and a body with more creases than a churro pastry, the NX is the most un-Lexus Lexus we've tested. From a brand that made its bones building vanilla-mobiles, the NX is a swing in the other direction.
But it's not convincing, and much of that has to do with its RAV4 underpinnings. Nothing against Toyota's super-popular small SUV, but luxury is not in its DNA.